by Kathryn Eckert and Craig Miller
When you walk down to Fishtown this summer, you will almost certainly notice the fresh appearance of the Steffens & Stallman Shanty. New cedar shingles, lightly tinted to approximate the color of weathered wood, rise on the exterior walls of the now-stabilized building. Green rolled asphalt roofing material covers the roof. Wooden doors and windows, repaired and replaced in their enframements, are painted to match historic white and gray samples found in historic photographs and on the building itself. Historically appropriate light fixtures connected to newly installed electrical wiring and outlets light illuminate both inside and out. In three hectic weeks this spring, Easling Construction Company raised our sagging shanty to nationally recognized historic preservation standards.
As these standards require, the rehabilitation of the Steffens & Stallman Shanty, planned by historical architect Richard A. Neumann of Petoskey, retains and respects the historic character of the shanty, as well as stabilizing and extending the building’s life. Designing and executing work in this manner ensures that Fishtown will retain its designation on the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance. This listing qualifies Fishtown for matching grants-in-aid through the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other entities.
Indeed, the Steffens & Stallman Shanty project sets the standard for future work at Fishtown. It represents the first phase of work on buildings as set forth in the Fishtown Preservation Society’s master historic preservation plan.
Funds for the project were provided by generous donors like you. Because of your financial support for this project, we owe you a debt of gratitude. We invite your continuing assistance for the rehabilitation of other buildings in subsequent phases of our long-term plan. With financial contributions like yours, we can provide access to this authentic, active commercial and sports fishing village so that others, too, will feel inspired by a sense of stewardship, responsibility and community.